When I moved to France a little over a year ago now, I had a different idea of what life was going to be like. Initially, I assumed it wouldn’t be that much different than my life in the States. I guess you could say that I was in a bit of a fairytale, wearing rose-colored glasses.
What I didn’t expect is experiencing obstacles and setbacks for reasons that were beyond my control. Granted any of these obstacles could occur anywhere, they just happened to me here at a time that I didn’t need them.
Different types of obstacles we face
Regardless of setbacks, defeats, or hurdles (roadblocks), obstacles come in many shapes and forms and they stand from where we are now to where we want to be. Each obstacle, setback, defeat, or roadblock is a representation of a different level in Jumanji.
Let me break that down.
There is nothing more painful than having a defeat on your record. Let’s face it no one likes a defeat, especially when they make your head spin and have you doubting what you are doing.
An example of a defeat could be getting passed over for a promotion that was a shoe it.
However, when it comes to defeat it sort of lights a fire under you. You start to feel as though you have something to prove and so you get kind of angry. You see when it comes to a defeat, you are not down for the count, you are just taking a beat.
These are obstacles that do a bit more than slow you down. As with Bruce Jenner, this is your Everest. (Cause he struggled on the hurdles?) That’s ok because these are just challenges, as I mentioned above another level in Jumanji. (you hear the music now don’t you?)
Let me share with you a personal experience, I was happily working at a job that I really didn’t like, but I was making good money. Selling my soul for sure but I wasn’t having to rely on my husband as much and we could start saving more money.
However, that didn’t work out so much. The powers that be at my job were awful, they verbally abused me on what felt like a daily basis. Needless to say, they forced me to end my contract with them, leaving me in the dirt struggling. It took a lot to pick myself up and dust off the dirt.
I must admit I was feeling pretty down, empty, and ready to throw in the towel. But then I realized this is just a hurdle to the goal my family and I are working towards. So I got back into the race and pushed through those hurdles.
Fear, not my friends, here is a concept that works, you can bounce back from these types of issues. As with anything it is going to take some time and a lot of effort.
I like to think of these as just bits of pulp that don’t really stop you but more as they slow you down. Obstruct your view. The best way to think of them is as a problem that makes your goals less likely to be met or success is out of reach. You kind of feel stuck.
All these issues can be overcome, but again we will need to take some time and put in a little bit of work.
The “normal” reaction to obstacles
When faced with an obstacle we want to be able to point a finger and blame someone else. We want reasons, explanations to answer the “why” questions.
This is how most people react, and you might be telling yourself that the reason for your obstacle is because of others.
In my case, for instance, I could easily say that the reason for my wellness book being pushed back is due to my kids starting school. Or that my husband is visiting for a limited amount of time and I have to spend time with him.
Another normal response to an obstacle is to get really mad. You may become frustrated, sad, or feeling like you let yourself and others down. You even may beat yourself up because you are where you thought you would be at this point in your life. I get it, trust me I have this fight with myself a lot!
Sometimes we are even scared of what lies ahead of us because of these obstacles. For instance, with my new job. I am hoping I make a good impression but I am scared of the pressure that I am putting on myself. The new environment, the schedule, etc.
As I said, these are all normal responses. Sometimes though, these reactions can actually hurt you.
The problem with these responses.
You are a person with legitimate feelings and thoughts. It is understandable to feel frustrated, sad, angry, and scared when you are dealing with an uphill battle.
While these reactions are perfectly normal, these responses only make things harder. They can also make things worse. When it comes to negative thoughts, like beating yourself up, the reactions you have to situations can be debilitating. Once you are stopped in your tracks your mind will start to wonder and prove itself right. So all your self-doubt and fears. become more of a reality than something you thought about.
According to The Science of Resilience: How to overcome major obstacles (this study goes as far back as WWII), resilience is the key to coping-the ability to bounce back after a life setback. ” “There is a difference between coping and being resilient,” says resilience researcher Patrick Dolan, professor of sociology at the National University of Ireland in Galway. “Coping is what we do in everyday life. Resilience is going one step further.”
Just like with some of the soldiers in WWII, some of us are able to just allow things to run down our backs while the rest of us seem to wear our setbacks like a heavy, itchy coat. If this is how you feel, and are unsure of how you can break the cycle, here’s something very important for you to remember…..
a setback can happen to anyone even those who are successful
Everyone in their lives, even those we look to for inspiration has their fair share of setbacks either before, or while enjoying their success or after achieving something amazing.
For example, Britney Spears. She is well-known to have struggled with several setbacks in her life both professionally and personally until she managed to get a spot on the Mickey Mouse Club. A few years after that she was at the drawing board again trying to get her record signing deal. She continued to struggle until in 1999 she managed to finally release her first album.
That album was a sensational success.
While she enjoyed a number of successes her life took a turn for the worse when she suffered a life-altering obstacle after she had her second son. Still, she was able to turn things around and recreate herself, reminding us of why we all fell in love with her in the first place.
Another example is J.K. Rowling, perhaps one of the most recognizable authors who created the Harry Potter series. While she seems as though everything she touches turns into gold now, there was a time when she was depressed, struggling, and one welfare. She was working hard to get her book written and finally published.
Still, after several rejections, she still pushed through her struggles and managed to become one of the most celebrated authors in the world.
The lesson is that you, too, can be resilient and overcome the obstacles that are in your way. Even you can find yourself in a much better place. You can create the right plan, you can get back into the fight.
You have the power to overcome a setback!
things you can do right now to help you overcome setbacks, roadblocks, defeats, obstacles, etc.
1. Give yourself time
Every journey has its valleys and side roads. In order for us to keep moving forward, we have to go through the valleys or understand one road was better than the one we chose. When you do choose a path you shouldn’t have, take a deep breath.
The very first thing you should do is process what happened. Sort of like a football game, when your team is down they immediately go on the defense. But that defense isn’t one they pulled out of the air, they have a plan they worked on prior to the game just in case something like this happened.
So you as well need a plan. Give yourself time to absorb and recharge. Allow yourself to come to terms with the events, and once your thoughts are clearer and not so scattered then start to come up with what you should do from there.
How long should you take? Well, that is really up to you and the situation.
2. Deep breath-you’ve got this so have faith
I am living proof you can handle much more than you realize. When I moved to France, I honestly expected my husband to be with me every day but alas life gave me a setback.
For the first time in over a decade I had to do a lot of things on my own, some of them I had never done before. Such as being a single parent. Trust me when I say that I was very hard on myself, I even thought I was a loser.
Though I had support, nothing could penetrate my own self-deprivation until I managed to understand that I am doing a great job, not the best I can do, but a great job!
The point is, don’t panic cause you got this. Having a leveled head, and allowing yourself time to clear your thoughts gives you a better opportunity to work through the setback than creating another one.
According to Faith in the Face of Setbacks; “Having faith in the face of setbacks can be a challenge. It’s easy to tell ourselves that we’re not strong enough or good enough to overcome whatever obstacle has arisen. After all, that’s exactly how it feels. But this is when having faith in ourselves becomes paramount to our ability to thrive.”
3. Failure is a part of success!
I was watching my younger son as he tried very hard to build the confidence to talk to his teacher in French. I could see the thought process in his little eyes as he looked up at her. He wanted to tell her that I was here and he was leaving, he was being responsible and following the rules.
As a great teacher, she waited patiently giving him her full attention. Finally, after a couple of seconds that felt like minutes, he said to her “Ma mama ici.”
He has had several failures and even false starts. During kindergarten, he went almost all year without uttering a word. He hated being wrong or saying something that wasn’t right. But the more time I and his school gave him, and the more we reminded him he was allowed to make mistakes the less afraid he became.
He managed to push through his little set back and thankfully now he loves going to school.
Put another way: We are in control of very little, some things are at the mercy of those around us. However, what little control we do have we can do wondrous things with that power.
We all learned at a young age that we learn by making mistakes or failing. When we started to walk, we fell down a lot. Imagine if we decided not to do anything after that first fall? No one wants to live a life where we give up all the things we can do or want to do because we have the chance of failing.
We may not change the situation but we can use it to get us to our goal. Using failure as a lesson will help you to move forwards.
4. Don’t be so hard on yourself
Ok, so the hurdle is in your path, and there is no way to change it now. But that is ok because you have the power to decide how to deal with it and move forward from it.
When I am feeling vulnerable and powerless I tend to shut the world out, sort of like hitting a snooze button on life. There are times when I feel things are hard that I want to leave France and head back to the States.
But through these struggles, I realize all these roadblocks, hurdles, and setbacks are just temporary. They will not prevent me from reaching the goal of my farmhouse and quiet life. I do have a tendency of getting angry at myself or thinking that the reason why these things have happened is due to me making a wrong choice.
The truth is I have a hard time cutting myself some slack. There are things that are beyond my control, and despite my need to control my situation, there are other factors that I can not control. Such as other people.
Regardless of these factors, I can still push forward so I can achieve my goals. Giving myself some slack doesn’t necessarily mean that I am not taking accountability for my actions, it just means that I am not blaming myself for everything that is happening.
No matter what occurs, I am doing a great job while I am patiently waiting for my husband to join us permanently!
5. You have control
In these situations, we feel helpless and hopeless. I know that I do when things are not going my way. For example, with my previous job, I was working so hard and I was doing a great job. My colleagues (those who were genuine and supportive) recognized that I was doing a great job.
But the powers that be were vindictive, greedy, and flat-out crazy. They were not supportive as they should have been, and often bullied or belittled me.
There came a point when I was feeling my lowest, I wanted to just stay in bed and cry. I didn’t want to be a part of this narrative anymore. Had it not have been for a few colleagues I would have probably done something drastic like pack my bags and give up.
However, I decided to regain control and chose to overcome a set-back
What I did was consider the actions I was able to take to overcome this minor setback. I asked myself, “how I can avoid this type of environment, and how I can grow from this?”
When I did this I discovered something interesting, I did my job effectively. I used my skills to the best of my ability, I was not the bad seed. (this was also backed up with support from colleagues and former colleagues from the states)
I began to focus on the things that I can do that were within my control. Doing this will help you feel less like you are out of control and allow you to feel as though you have the situation in hand.
Robert Green: The Two Kinds of Failure says, “Repeated failure will toughen your spirit and show you with absolute clarity how things must be done. In fact, it is a curse to have everything go right on your first attempt.”
Using these five steps hopefully will help lead you out of the rut you feel yourself in when an obstacle has been thrust in your path. My hope is to help you feel less regret and give you the strength to keep moving forward.
It is a bit of a hard knock life, but pull yourself back together, “Get it crackin’ ‘Back in Black’ until you have ’em ‘Thunderstruck”, Mike Shinoda. (About You 2018). This is how I have learned to overcome setbacks or hurdles.
To increase your success be sure to check out my post 10 Time Management Tips
Comment below on how you handle your setbacks, or which step works best for you!